English Muffin Bread

Mar 4th

With this picture and title, I doubt I’ll have to work very hard to convince you how delicious this bread is. My husband averaged four pieces a day and it was gone in a flash – I still have leftover bread flour so I’ll most likely be making it again this weekend. Instead of going on and on about the nooks and crannies and how it’s far and away better than anything store bought, I’ll talk about how EASY it was to make.

Yeast bread. No kneading. No electric mixer. No messy counter top. All you need is a bowl, a mixing spoon, and a loaf pan (like what you’d make banana bread in). The ingredients are as simple as they come, and the rise time is one of the shortest I’ve seen for a yeast recipe. Now usually I’ll take a recipe and make ingredient swaps as needed to suit my taste or to use what’s already in my kitchen, but this recipe specified that using bread flour is a MUST. I added it to my grocery list for the week and bought a quart of whole milk.

As I proceeded to mix my dough, the sticky wet mess in the bowl was so unlike my pizza dough that I thought I’d done something wrong! But then I saw the instruction to “scoop dough into prepared pan”. Scoop? And no kneading on the counter? This is a VERY wet dough that seems more like muffin batter than bread dough. I followed the recipe to the “t” and was rewarded with perfect English muffin bread. The reason I’m going on about this is that you need not doubt your skills like I did – it’s a wet batter but it all works out in the end.

 I toasted thick slices of this and served it slathered with butter on the side of a quinoa and veggie stew – white flour decadence to balance out the healthy whole grains. Though it softened as the hours passed, (I kept it sliced, in tupperware, on the counter top) once it was toasted it returned to its crusty, golden perfection. A must try for those who are yeast shy – this just about rocked my socks off and I can’t wait to make it again!

English Muffin Bread

slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Makes 2 loaves

Cornmeal

5 c. bread flour

1 1/2 tbsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast

1 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

3 c. whole milk, heated to 120 degrees

1. Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans (measure from the top edges of the pan, not the bottom) with nonstick spray and then dust with cornmeal.

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2. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda in large mixing bowl.

3. Stir in hot milk until combined and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute.

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4. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until dough is bubbly and has doubled in size.

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5. Stir dough and divide between prepared loaf pans, pushing into corners with a greased rubber spatula (pans should be 2/3 of the way full). The dough is so soft that you will scoop it out with a spoon and plop it into the pan in spoon-fulls.

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6. Cover loaf pans with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

7. Uncover bread and transfer breads to oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown (if baking both loaves at once, rotate position midway through baking).

8. Turn bread out onto wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Slice, toast, and serve.

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Bread will keep well wrapped at room temperature for several days, and freezes well. If freezing, wrapped cooled bread well in plastic wrap and then a double wrap of foil.

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